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Author leaves final message as she announces her own death

Author leaves final message as she announces her own death

The author wrote best-selling books on her experience with dementia and Alzheimer's

Warning: This article contains discussion of dementia which some readers may find distressing.

An author announced her own death, leaving behind a poignant final message.

Wendy Mitchell became a best-selling writer for her books detailing her experience with dementia.

She was diagnosed with early-onset vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s in July 2014 at the age of 58.

At the time, Mitchell was working full-time as a non clinical team leader in the NHS.

Following her diagnosis, she became a volunteer for Alzheimer’s UK and an ambassador for the charity.

The author died at the age of 68, announcing her death in a posthumous post on her blog yesterday (22 February).

Wendy Mitchell.
Dementia UK/X

“If you're reading this, it means this has probably been posted by my daughters as I've sadly died," she wrote.

"Sorry to break the news to you this way, but if I hadn't, my inbox would eventually have been full of emails asking if I'm OK, which would have been hard for my daughters to answer...

"In the end, I died simply by deciding not to eat or drink anymore. The last cuppa tea…my final hug in a mug, the hardest thing to let go of, much harder than the food I never craved… This wasn’t decided on a whim of self pity as you’ll discover by reading on.

"Dementia is a cruel disease that plays tricks on your very existence. I’ve always been a glass half full person, trying to turn the negatives of life around and creating positives, because that’s how I cope.

"Well I suppose dementia was the ultimate challenge. Yes, dementia is a bummer, but oh what a life I’ve had playing games with this adversary of mine to try and stay one step ahead.”

She died at the age of 68.

Mitchell went on to discuss how she would have chosen assisted dying ‘in a heartbeat’ if it was available in the UK, and she didn’t want her daughters ‘to see the Wendy [she’d] become’.

She said her plans to travel alone to Dignitas were ‘turned upside down’ when she had a fall earlier this year.

The author added: “My life was for living, but now it’s time for dying. So, if you want to do something for me, please campaign for assisted dying to be law here.”

Explaining her decision to stop eating and drinking she said: “You may or may not agree with what I’ve done, how and when I’ve chosen to leave this world, but the decision was totally mine.”

Mitchell wrote a memoir about her experiences in 2018 followed by another book in 2022. Her third book, One Last Thing: Living With the End in Mind, is due to be published in paperback next week.

The author ended her post with: “Dementia didn’t play the winning card – I did.”

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence, contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

Featured Image Credit: Dementia UK/X/ITV

Topics: Health, UK News, Books